The world’s biggest producer said that a global shortage of condoms is looming over after a coronavirus lockdown forced it to shut down production.
Globally, Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms. From its three Malaysian factories, it has not produced a single condom in the past 10 days. This is due to a lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of the virus.
A shortfall of 100 million condoms already exists. Normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex, supply to state healthcare systems such as Britain’s NHS or are distributed by aid programmes such as the UN Population Fund.
Karex Chief Executive Goh Miah Kiat told Reuters this week, “We are going to see a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which is going to be scary. My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programmes deep down in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”
Goh said, “Karex is in the process of appealing to the government for an exemption to operate under specific conditions. Malaysia is approving other essential goods producers to operate with half of their workforce.” He also went on to say, “The good thing is that the demand for condoms is still very strong because like it or not, it’s still essential to have. Given that at this point in time people are probably not planning to have children. It’s not the time, with so much uncertainty.”